Pakistan jails UK mom to life in prison

Islamabad - A court in Pakistan on Tuesday jailed a British mother-of-three for life for attempting to smuggle 63 kilograms of heroin out of the country.

Khadija Shah, who is from the central city of Birmingham and of Pakistani descent, was arrested at Islamabad airport in May 2012 when the drugs were found in her luggage.

British prisoner Khadija Shah, who has been convicted of attempting to smuggle narcotics, covers her face with a garment as she walks past photographers after a court hearing in Rawalpindi. Picture: Farooq NAEEM. Credit: AFP

She was convicted and sentenced at a special narcotics court in Rawalpindi, the twin city of Islamabad, according to legal papers seen by AFP. She was also fined 300 000 rupees ($3 000)

Shah, 26, who was six months pregnant when she was arrested, denied the allegations. She gave birth to a daughter last September while in custody on the drugs charges.

Her lawyer Shehzad Akbar said she had no idea there were drugs in her luggage and they would appeal.

Legal charity Reprieve urged the British government to help.

“This is a terrible outcome for Khadija and her baby Malaika,” Maya Foa of Reprieve said in a release.

“As happens in hundreds of cases, she was used as a drugs mule without her knowledge, and yet is facing life in a Pakistani prison.”